Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie
Senate circle (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

HARTFORD, CT — Late Wednesday night, the Senate joined the House in approving a transportation lockbox for improvements to Connecticut’s roads and bridges.

The Senate passed the measure 29-7. Eleven Republicans joined with Democrats in approving the resolution.

The question about creating a constitutional lockbox for funds earmarked for the special transportation fund will now be put to voters in 2018. If it’s approved by the voters, it will be ratified into the state constitution.

The lockbox was necessary in order to win Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s approval for increasing any revenue streams earmarked for improving transportation. Malloy has said he won’t support additional revenue for transportation until a constitutional lockbox is in place.

“The residents of Connecticut deserve a modernized, best-in-class transportation system that promotes growth, attracts businesses, delivers jobs, and makes our state an even more desirable place to live and work,” Malloy said. “For too long, our state languished in the upkeep of our transportation infrastructure at the expense of businesses, our economy, and our quality of life. We must think big on transportation – there are billions of dollars at stake in productivity, commerce, and economic activity.

Sen. Joe Markley, R-Southington, said it’s not going to “bind” the legislature to “better behavior.”

Some Republicans wanted to see a stronger definition for revenue going in and coming out of the so-called lockbox.

The definition sent to voters would still allow lawmakers to sweep the funds if they felt it was necessary.

Unlike the House, the Senate did not debate electronic highway tolls.